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NBA2K18’s player models are so realistic you’ll forget they’re not real

Imagine if we had this level of realism in football games

The NBA2K series has long been a pioneer in the sports gaming industry… particularly visually.

That trend looks set to continue as they are set to blow the likes of FIFA and PES out of the water with their stunning graphics for the upcoming NBA 2K18.


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The brains over at 2K have been working tirelessly to improve what were already considered to be flawless graphics for the newest addition to the franchise.

Over the years they’ve added incredible likeness and little touches, such as Steph Curry’s signature “mouthguard chew”, to add that extra bit of realism.

There’s no denying just how realistic the players in NBA2K18 look

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There’s no denying just how realistic the players in NBA2K18 look

But rather than rest on their laurels, the art geniuses at 2K have been working hard to make it even better, from player likeness, to body shape and even jersey colours.

They’ve modelled things such as realistic armpit hair, too.

To make it happen, they use a self-powered mobile scanning RV from Pixelgun Studio, made up of 146 Canon cameras to capture ultra-high detail facial scans and even player tattoos, with up to 16,000 textures.

NBA 2K18’s art director Anton Dawson told Cnet: “We went back to scan data and we basically doubled the resolution of the face, and it was a ton of work.

This is the first game to have photo-realistic faces – something not yet achieved in FIFA and PES

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This is the first game to have photo-realistic faces – something not yet achieved in FIFA and PES

“It allowed a lot of these likenesses to pop a lot more, and it’s a subtle thing, but it helps. Every little wrinkle and every little form that you can eke out helps.

“When you strip down and go back all the way to rebuilding the face from scratch and having a new model, it gives you a chance to revisit a lot of things.”

On the player jerseys – with all NBA teams switching from adidas to Nike this summer – Dawson added: “It was important for us to separate the colour of a jersey into diffused colour and reflected colour.

“We used a technique called cross-polarization to separate those two layers and then we were able to sample the colours by breaking out diffused colour and reflected colour.

“The way it reads to your eye when it’s all put back together, the colour just looks exactly like the colour.

FIFA 18 is powered by Frostbite but is still to get to the same level of detail as NBA

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FIFA 18 is powered by Frostbite but is still to get to the same level of detail as NBA

“The team colours have been spot on. That’s been something we’ve been just chasing for so long.”

2K even asked players to pull a series of bizarre facial expressions, including “scrunching their face up” and pulling their best “dunk face” during their motion capture sessions to get 100 per cent realism into the game.

Essentially, if a player has his own signature expression – and let’s face it, many do – NBA 2K18 will have it on full display.

Not that EA is any stranger to facial scanning. In fact, the dedicated scanning team imports hundreds of players’ faces into the game every year.

They spend months travelling to different clubs, most recently Forest Green Rovers, to scan player faces before importing them into the game.

Earlier this month, FGR players became the first team outside of Europe’s top divisions to be face captured for FIFA 18.

This shot, taken from the trailer, shows the extraordinary level of detail captured by 2K

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This shot, taken from the trailer, shows the extraordinary level of detail captured by 2K

EA selected FGR for the experience to celebrate the club winning promotion to the Football League for the first time in its 128 year history.

The FIFA 18 developer is planning to unveil a huge Ultimate Team showcase at this month’s Gamescom expo in Cologne.

NBA2K18 will feature loads of different facial expressions

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NBA2K18 will feature loads of different facial expressions

“Ordinary we don’t announce much about Ultimate Team around this time because we’re in the run up to Gamescom – that’s our big FUT showcase,” EA producer Matt Prior said.

Gamescom is Europe’s largest gaming convention and takes place between August 22-26.

WATCH THE INCREDIBLE NBA2K18 TRAILER BELOW.


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